Prescribing measures, indicators and comparators

The HSCIC and NHS BSA are working to introduce new patient weightings to support national and local monitoring of prescribing.  These have not been fully implemented, but this work will be completed shortly.

Traditionally, prescribing has been measured using the number of items prescribed and the cost of these drugs. This is used to compare drug utilisation between NHS organisations and practices, and to look at historic trends. Data on the patient list size for each practice is also available and allows three ratios of prescribing to be commonly used:

  • items per patient
  • cost per patient
  • cost per item

Additional measures of volume (rather than the number of items) and patient denominators (weighted to take account of the differing needs of patients) have been developed. These are used in reports and information systems produced by NHS Prescription Services.

These measures can be used to develop indicators and comparators that help organisations to monitor prescribing and compare themselves with other organisations.

Update – March 2014

Feedback is invited on proposals for retaining, amending or retiring the 17 current (2013-14) QIPP prescribing comparators by Friday 9 May.

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